Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine (CPOM)

Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine Summit 2018

The Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Minnesota focusing on improving outcomes for youth afflicted with obesity and related conditions.

The Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine has three primary aims:

  1. Provide the resources, infrastructure, and synergy to generate new knowledge and drive innovation at the intersection of lifestyle modification therapy, pharmacotherapy, device therapy, and bariatric/metabolic surgery to enhance treatment outcomes for youth afflicted with obesity and related diseases/conditions, with a strategic emphasis on precision medicine and a commitment to team science.
  2. Offer multidisciplinary training to the next generation of scientists and medical providers through structured research mentorship and educational opportunities in the field of pediatric obesity medicine.
  3. Engage in advocacy efforts related to policy and guideline development to improve care delivery for youth with obesity.

Our Mission:

  1. Facilitate research to discover new treatments that improve the physical and emotional health of children and teenagers who are affected by obesity and obesity-related conditions.
  2. Train the next generation of scientists and medical providers to advance the cutting-edge field of pediatric obesity medicine.
  3. Advocate for the development of policies and guidelines that support optimal care delivery for youth with obesity.

Education, Training, & Outreach


To meet the growing demand for experts in the sub-specialty of pediatric obesity medicine, we have created a Pediatric Obesity Medicine Fellowship Program that offers clinical, surgical and research opportunities. Fellows will be trained in the specialized, multidisciplinary therapies used to address childhood obesity - including behavioral, pharmacological, and surgical options. Upon completion, fellows will be eligible to sit for the American Board of Obesity Medicine exam.

If you are interested in learning more about the fellowship program in Pediatric Obesity Medicine, please contact fellowship coordinator Valerie Cole at

Workshops & Trainings

The Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine hosts an annual CME-based pediatric obesity clinical treatment workshop called Advanced Therapies for Pediatric Obesity Therapy (ATPO) in partnership with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Policy and Outreach

Our Center has and continues to engage in multiple ongoing activities related to advocacy and policy including working to promote obesity as a priority area of focus within the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act program, lobbying for expanded insurance coverage for anti-obesity treatments, and pursuing affordable and scalable treatments to help address the wide racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic status inequities associated with obesity. 

Patient Care

The Center is partnered with the nationally-recognized multidisciplinary Pediatric Weight Management Clinic at the University of Minnesota, which includes the Family Weight Management Program and Teen Weight Loss Surgery Program.

These clinical programs provide exceptional, cutting-edge weight management services and support the post graduate training of pediatric residents and fellows.

Fostering partnerships between clinical care and research provides us the opportunity to better investigate the causes of obesity and identify factors (physiological, genetic, behavioral, psychological, etc) that predict responses to treatments in order to pioneer the development of personalized therapies for obesity. This precision medicine approach to obesity management means using the right treatment for the right patient at the right time and is a primary focus of the Center.

The Center also works closely with faculty investigators spanning the health sciences to cultivate collaborative efforts and maximize synergy, working toward the common goal of developing, evaluating, and implementing innovative treatments for pediatric obesity and related diseases. Additionally, collaborations are underway with other pediatric and research centers at the University of Minnesota, including the Center for Neurobehavioral Development and the Obesity Prevention Center.


The Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine (CPOM) is driven to discover new knowledge to improve the health outcomes of children and teens who struggle with extra weight. This quest includes for example, uncovering the biological, psychological, and environmental causes of abnormal weight gain and testing new treatments for the management of obesity and obesity-related conditions like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or depression.

Research Opportunities for Youth 

  • We are looking for kids and teens who want to participate in research studies to test ways to improve their health and weight status.
  • All study visits occur at the University of Minnesota campus.
  • Free parking is available.
  • All study procedures and supplies are free.
  • Receive compensation for study visits.
  • Call or email for more information and to see if you qualify.

Click learn more to read about our current research studies and center research cores and services. 

Learn More About Our Research

Current Research Studies

Gopher Kids Liver study

Teens 12-17 years old
Involves 6 visits over 6 months
Teens who have fatty liver disease
Daily pill to see if it improves fatty liver and helps with weight loss

Contact: Patti Laqua 612-624-2151 or


Teens 12-17 years old
Involves 13 in-person and 7 phone visits over 18 months
Identifying what will work best for each individual, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. All teens receive behavioral lifestyle therapy, some may receive medication

Contact: CPOM 612-626-2349 or

Heart of Gold Study 

Teens 14-20 years old
Involves 1 visit lasting 4-5 hours
Looks at heart structure and function at rest and while exercising using an MRI and stationary exercise bike

Contact: Lucas Simmons 612-624-2139 or

Brainiac Study

Teens 13-17 years old
Involves 1 visit lasting 1-2 hours
Help find the relationship between weight and brain function through a series of questionnaires and tests on an iPad.

Contact: Lucas Simmons 612-624-2139 or

The most up-to-date and comprehensive place to find a description of clinical trials available in the US for those living with obesity is on, as required by U.S. Law.

Center Research Cores and Services 

The center utilizes a variety of research techniques to better investigate the origins and therapies for pediatric obesity. CPOM has the following equipment and assessment capabilities:

Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Assessment Core

  • Vascular structure and function assessment

Body Composition, Metabolism and Phlebotomy Core

  • Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA)
  • Pediatric phlebotomy services
  • Standardized meal testing
  • Energy expenditure assessment (metabolic cart)

Tissue Biorepository

  • Sample storage (-80 C freezers)
  • Sample tracking